Linear March

Instructions

Beginner runners just starting out in the sport of running need to become more aware of their body mechanics. In order to “get faster”, one must first learn how to slow down.

Slowing down the running gait cycle will help a runner focus on developing the body mechanics necessary for greater speed generation and injury prevention.

  1. Face forward in a neutral upright stance looking straight ahead and chest up.
  2. Driving the knee of your lead leg up, contracting your hip flexors.
  3. As you pull your leg up, drive the opposite arm up at 90 degrees; keep your other arm down at 180 degrees.
  4. Return the heel of your active leg to the ground.
  5. Perform the same motions with the opposite leg.

Purpose

  • The Linear March is a running drill that emphasizes proper biomechanics. It is often observed that overextension of the spine, uncoordinated arms, lack of dorsiflexion of the ankle are common attributes of a beginner.
  • This running drill helps address deficiencies with hip flexion. However, don’t forget to practice your newly learned skills in real-world scenarios.

Targetted Muscles Groups

  • Hamstrings
  • Plantar/Dorsiflexors
  • Glutes
  • Hip Flexors/Extension
  • Quads
  • Torso Stability
  • Calves
 

Tip

Beginner: Start in a slow march to familiarize yourself with the movement pattern

Intermediate: Once you are familiar with the movement pattern, proceed to increase the speed in which to execute the movement in a forceful but precise action

  • For the duration of the drill, cue “chin up, chest up, toe up (dorsiflexed) and heel up over the opposite knee.”
  • Make sure your active foot lands no more than a half-foot in front of your support foot.
  • Linear March in a group setting

Reverse Single Leg Hops

Instructions

  • A series of skips and hops that you can do anywhere anytime
  • Learn how to dynamically balance your body on one foot and keep adductors from collapsing
  • Vertical / Horizontal displacement should only be about 1-2 / 10inches respectively
  • Maintain good body stability throughout

Purpose

  • Strengthen your adductors and feet
  • By hopping backwards, you activate the muscles in the feet for balancing a lot more 
  • Avoid overuse injuries and work on lateral stability that most runners don’t need to use

Tip

Beginner: forward hop 3 sets for 10-15meters without losing form

Intermediate: forward hop 1 set for 15-20meters, backwards hop 10-15meters

Advanced: forward hop for 20-30meters, backwards hop 20-30meters

  • Make sure you do it for BOTH legs!
  • Watch for your hips getting off-balance to maintain stability

Double Leg Hops

Instructions

  • A series of skips and hops that you can do anywhere anytime
  • Learn how to get a proper “toe-off”
  • Vertical / Horizontal displacement should only be about 1-2 / 10inches respectively
  • Maintain good body stability and not favor one side to another

Purpose

  • Body stability throughout the entire running gait cycle
  • Learn good foot biomechanics

Tip

Beginner: forward hop 3 sets for 10-15meters without losing form

Intermediate: forward hop 1 set for 15-20meters, backwards hop 10-15meters

Advanced: forward hop for 20-30meters, backwards hop 20-30meters

  • Make sure you do it for BOTH legs!

Single Leg Hops

Instructions

  • A series of skips and hops that you can do anywhere anytime
  • Learn how to dynamically balance your body on one foot and keep your knees/hips from collapsing
  • Vertical / Horizontal displacement should only be about 1-2 / 10 inches respectively

Purpose

  • Strengthen your feet to avoid over/under pronation (pronate or supinate)
  • Learn good foot biomechanics
  • Teach your body how to balance (coordination) and maintain good posture through the running gait cycle
  • React fast to the foot on ground contact (improve your running cadence)

Tip

Beginner: 2 sets for 20-30meters without losing form

Intermediate: 1 set for 20-30meters

Advanced: 1 set for 20-30meters

Skips for Distance

Instructions

  • A series of skips and hops that you can do anywhere anytime
  • Exaggerate running motion to improve biomechanics and running coordination
  • Practice proper running technique in a controlled setting.
  • Drive your arms back while simultaneously driving your hips forward to get maximum whole-body engagement during your gait cycle

Purpose

  • Strengthen your ankles and lower leg (soleus)
  • Teach your body how to balance (coordination) and maintain good posture through the running gait cycle
  • Use your arms to counterbalance your leg drive to maintain a stable running throughout the gait cycle

Tip

Beginner: 2 sets for 20-30meters without losing form.

Intermediate: 1 set for 20-30meters

Advanced: 1 sets for 20-30meters

  • This exercise is not meant to fatigue you.
  • Maintain your explosiveness and make sure you “pop” off the ground.

Skips for Height

Instructions

  • A series of skips and hops that you can do anywhere anytime
  • Exaggerate running motion to improve biomechanics and running coordination
  • Practice proper running technique in a controlled setting.
  • Drive your arms back while simultaneously driving your hips forward to get maximum whole-body engagement during your gait cycle
  • Practice engaging your calf/ankles in the push phase of your gait cycle (improve stride length)

Purpose

  • Strengthen your feet
  • Take the stress off your knees and hips
  • Teach your body how to balance (coordination) and maintain good posture through the running gait cycle
  • React fast to the foot on ground contact (improve your running cadence)

Tip

Beginner: 2 sets for 20-30meters without losing form.

Intermediate: 1 set for 20-30meters

Advanced: 1 sets for 20-30meters

  • This exercise is not meant to fatigue you.
  • Maintain your explosiveness and make sure you “pop” off the ground.

Running Tall

Instructions

  • Stand straight 4 – 6 inches (10 – 15cm) from a wall with your arms extending out fingers pointing skyward
  • Fall forward until you hit the wall with your hands, heels touching the ground and back straight
  • Run-in-place with high knees for 10 – 15secs
  • Turn to the side and run for 10 – 15secs practicing the movement patterns you have just tried
  • Repeat for 3 – 5 sets

Purpose

  • The theory behind Running Tall
  • Practicing good running form and its associated movement patterns allows your muscles and neuromuscular system to adapt. Over time it will become second nature (aka. muscle memory).
  • Running well requires a runner to connect their kinetic chain to generate power from every part of their body towards forward propulsion
  • Minimizes running injury, especially as the distance increases

Tip

Beginner: If you can't find a wall outdoors, use a tree or a post in its place.

High Knees

Instructions

  • With a slight forward lean from your ankles, drive hips forward bending your knees until your thigh is parallel to the ground. 
  • DRIVE ARM – swing your arms like a pendulum driving your arm back on the side with the raised knee, and driving the alternate arm forward on the opposite side
  • To test whether you have tight shoulders or not, if you can’t feel the weight of your arms, you have tight shoulders ;-). You should be able to swing your arms freely.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat action on the opposite leg, marching 15-20m forward. 
  • Maintain proper body & leg alignment THROUGHOUT

Purpose

  • Practice proper running technique w/body alignment in controlled manner
  • Works your Hip Flexors when behind and underneath the body

Tip

Beginner: Do the Exercise at SLOWLY to get familiar with running movement pattern.

Intermediate: Do the Exercise at SMOOTHLY

Advanced: Add a small hop on each step to mimic natural running action

  • Look straight ahead, chin tucked in, and not down on the ground or skyward
  • Do not arch your back or slouch.
  • Stand tall.